August 11, 2011

Lessons from a Loss


The Easter bunny brought my kids wallets this year.

Worst idea ever.

Every time we leave the house, the dreaded wallets come with us.

I have begged and pleaded with my kids to leave the wallets at home, but to no avail. My kids love their wallets because it gives them license to put things into my shopping cart that don't belong there.

"I'm not buying a pellet gun today. Or ever," I told Cortlen earlier this week.

"Fine," he snapped. "Then I'll buy it." He pulled out five one dollar bills from his wallet and waved them around in my face.

"The gun costs $50.00," I pointed out.

Sadly, the only thing left in his wallet was a dime.

All's well that ends well. A few seconds later, he got distracted by display of fluorescent fishing lures and left his wallet on the store shelf.

"You're going to lose all of your money one of these days," I said as I scooped up the wallet.

"At least I have a purse," my daughter said as she swung the object over her head like a helicopter propeller.

"If that thing hits me, there's going to be a problem," I warned.

When my mother-in-law was visiting, the wallets were more visible than normal. This is because my in-laws have a bad habit of giving my kids their spare change after they make a purchase.

"I wish you would leave your purse at home," I told my daughter at least ten times during my MIL's stay.

I didn't even notice that she had it with her when we all went out to eat on Saturday night. Camber realized that she had left the purse at our table a few hours after we got home. I called the restaurant on Sunday morning and they told me that they had it. We all sighed in relief. Camber had close to $40 in the purse, most of it gifted to her by Tim's dad.




We went to pick up the purse at the restaurant on Monday morning. It wasn't a good scene when my daughter opened the wallet and found that all of her money was gone, except for one measly dollar.

There are good and bad things that come from the act of someone stealing money from a child. The good is that my kids finally got why I won't let them keep the random toys and trinkets that they find on the floors of fast food restaurants or the school bus etc. The bad is that for the first time, they saw the world in a different way. It made me sad and a little angry that the veil of innocence has been lifted. The silver lining in this is, of course, that it could have been much worse.

We've been talking about stealing a lot over the past few days (along with pet kangaroos) and have decided that whoever took the money out of Camber's monkey wallet must have needed the money more than she did.

That's the only way an eight year-old can make sense of it.




28 comments

Emma Jo said...

Almost the exact same thing happened to us this week. My nine year old left her purse at the mall. We were so happy to find out that someone had turned it in but disappointed to find out that they had stolen her $5 from it first. Who steals $5 from a kid's purse where the only other contents were a comb, a bouncy ball and a library book?

Sara Bell said...

I left a purse at a restaurant five hours away from home once and didn't realized it until we were like 20 minutes away from the house. I think I was ten. All I had in it were magnetic earrings, dental floss, lip gloss, and the only copy of a picture of my parents on my wedding night. Why anyone would take that and keep it is beyond me, but someone did. I still haven't gotten over that loss!

Heidi said...

I agree with Camber. Heck, I was eighteen when someone stole nearly a thousand dollars of scholarship money from my wallet--on the Ricks College campus. I had to come to the same conclusion. It was the only way I could get over it.

The Mama said...

I think that the conclusion you and Camber came to makes perfect sense, and probably was a great way for her to try to get over it. Poor girl. I can only imagine the frustration of having them "having" to bring their wallets with them. I have thought about getting my son a wallet, and this post made me think twice!

New reader!

Janet's page said...

That's how we would have made sense of it too... Poor darling...

Heather Forcey said...

I had a similar experience with my son a few years ago when we accidentally left his scooter outside on the sidewalk in front of our house for less than 10 minutes. It broke my heart having to explain to a 5-year-old why someone would take something that didn't belong to them. We did the same thing in turning it into a life lesson. I just wish he didn't have to learn the lesson at five.

Mom of 12 said...

That is so sad! Tell her we are thinking about her...
Sandy
www.twelvemakesadozen.blogspot.com

the emily said...

We just moved to a tiny town in New Mexico and my wallet got stolen OUT OF MY PURSE at Walmart last week. My son happened to see the woman who took it and said, "Mom, I think that lady just took something out of your bag." I didn't see her so I couldn't chase anybody, but luckily everything was canceled within just a few minutes. We called the police, they watched the surveillance footage and said she'd been following us (me and my 3 kids) around the store, waiting for me to turn my back. I was so mad--SO MAD--and I just can't seem to get over it. It's been a great lesson in why we don't steal (my son is always telling me that if he was the only person on earth then he would take all of the transformer toys in Walmart for himself, and never understands when I tell him that's not fair or right). I'm still mad about it, but it's been a learning experience for my kids.

FYI, trying to get a new license in a new state when you don't have the old one is really really really hard. MAKE COPIES OF EVERYTHING IN YOUR WALLET and keep it in a safe place. It will make your life so much easier.

Donna said...

Poor kid. It sucks when our kids start to lose their innocence and learn that the world is full of not-very-nice people.

Jessica said...

That is awful! I remember when something like that happened to me when I was about 7. I left $5 on the seat of our car while we went in to the store. The windows were part way down, but I was innocent enough to have no idea people took things that didn't belong to them. I was heart broken. My parents turned it into a lesson and also refused to replace the $5 to make the lesson of not leaving your things out stick. Which made it more heartbreaking, since I had JUST gotten the allowance and hardly ever a offered a chance to earn money. Now I have 3 kids, and I wonder what I woud do if the same thing happened? On one hand, I learned my lesson, but on the other hand, I don't think I could watch my kid be that hurt and have the means to stop it, but not do it. I see the point of each side...so what did you do?

Kelly said...

Sorry for her 40.00 life lesson. It sounds like you made the best of it. Life is hard sometimes...

Mommy McD said...

So sad! It breaks my heart when my kids end up learning sad life lessons earlier than I had planned.

Sarah said...

It's a sad world today that we have to introduce our children too. I agree with Camber, someone must have needed it more than she did.

Morgan -Ing said...

That is tragic, and such a hard lesson to learn. That really sucks.

Kari said...

It totally sucks that someone would steal from a child.

However, it only cost her $40 to learn a) that people will steal money if she isn't more vigilant about guarding it (unlike some of the other comments here that indicate that credit cards, identity cards and much more money are also stolen, once we become "grown-ups") and b) what its like to be the victim of theft--this may go a long way in teaching her compassion for other victims and may deter any inclination to steal when she becomes older. Of course, it would have been nicer if it was a $5 lesson ($40 is a large sum for such a young kid), but then the lesson might not stick.

Tell Camber she has all our sympathy, that's for sure!

christina said...

Funny when we moved from CA to TX, I was at a Target, I was out ofsorts, and when I left there I realized I left my wallet in the cart, in the parking lot. I got home and called, they said they had the wallet.....when i got to Target, went to the customer service, described it, and they gave it back to me....everything was there (not that I carry any cash) but the funny thing was it was a Coach wallet worth about $257. and someone still returned it..I tell ya, only in Texas! We are now in Floriday, about 40 minutes outside of WPB, and I am dying to go home...This is in no way home!

Kayleen said...

Christina - It's possible that it was the cart person that turned it in. They are usually teen boys so they wouldn't have a clue. I left my wallet in a cart too. It was a holiday monday, so I didn't realize it was missing for 2 days. Thankfully it was turned in the same night it was lost, and everything was there, but I still had to cancel my cards and get new ones.

Christine said...

So sad...our house just got broken into a couple of months ago. Not much was taken one of the 3 things they took was all the money out of my 9 year olds wallet. It was the top drawer of her dresser and we didn't realize the money was gone until she "had" to have her wallet for a walmart trip. She opened it and found it empty. She said "I was saving for a bike!!" I asked her how much she had..."100.00!" Wow I didn't know she had that much stashed. I was sad for her and her world view has been tainted as well. (Of course I bought a bike for her right after because I felt bad)

Renee said...

Someone must be pretty desperate to steal from a kid. What a shame! A good lesson for the kids though. I would be so hurt if that happened to my kid. Hopefully the purse and wallets will be stay home more often now.

Cheese said...

I never listened to mommy either when she'd tell us to leave our wallets at home; I, too, needed to have the money with me at all times because you just never knew when the moment would strike that you were faced with something you just NEEDED to have and mom would say no. I lost purses many times- The two I remember most was 1. in a ride at the mall and 2. at the grocery store... Number 2 showed up at home a day later, though... Turns out I'd put it down somewhere after mom's warning and she decided to slide it into her own purse to teach me a lesson. It was the last time it happened. (but then anytime something disappeared I'd assume she had it to teach me a lesson- never was the case.)

AlsoMean said...

Wow, I am sorry that Camber had to learn this lesson so early.
Also glad for the lesson to not buy the kids wallets. We did help them open "kid savings" accounts at a local bank this summer, it just limits how much is in the purse or pocket to be lost or stolen.

Amy M. said...

I am sure the next lesson on money will be how people will cheat you.

Rachel :D said...

Aw, how sad! :'(

Meagan said...

That is really sad that someone would take money from a kid like that! But you turned it into a very good lesson :)

Lisa, An American Mom said...

That is such a sad lesson for your daughter! Who the heck takes money out of a child's wallet?

But I hate to say it, it is one of her first "real life" lessons. She probably won't forget it. :(

Anonymous said...

My oldest is 7 and I cringe that these "life lessons" are soon approaching. I'm sorry.

Katie said...

So sad! That's a hard lesson for her to learn. I hate that she already has had to deal with that!

Nancy's News said...

When my daughter was in 4th grade, she made a new friend at school. This friend suddenly started showing up at our house after school on several occasions. One day, my husband came home and not only was this new little friend in our home but her teenage twin sisters as well...."playing" in my daugher's bedroom. Shortly after that, we as a family, went away for a week-end and came home to discover our house had been broken into. My daughter's room was completely cleaned out. She was devastated, couldn't understand it at all. We had a feeling her new friend was involved so we alerted the police. They went to their apartment and saw all my daughter's belongings scattered throughout the house. When questioned, they reported they'd found these items of my daughter's in the trash!! Our hands were tied. We pressed charges but because they were juveniles, not much was done. The clincher to this whole story??? The next week, this new little "friend" wore my daughter's little red ruby earrings that my mother had given to her for her birthday, to school!!!! Talk about a slap in the face. Took my daughter years to understand how this could happen and nothing be done about it. So so sad!